Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Judge Posner Condemns His Own Opinion On Voter ID

Well-known federal Judge Richard A. Posner, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Reagan appointee and arguably signature conservative jurist in the nation (apart from those on the Supreme Court), author of the 7th Circuit's 2008 opinion in Crawford v. Marion County (wiki), the case affirming the constitutionality of Indiana's voter ID law, thus opening the floodgates of voter ID laws enacted by other states, has changed his mind about voter ID laws in general. And he's not shy about it. "Dartagnan" at Daily Kos says this:
Posner, joined by four Judges on the Seventh Circuit, authored the opinion requesting a rehearing en banc by the entire Seventh Circuit Court of appeals in Frank v Scott Walker et al, the recent case assessing the validity of the Wisconsin "Voter ID" statute.  A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit had already cleared the way for the Wisconsin law to go into effect prior to next month's elections. Posner's request for rehearing split the Judges of that Circuit 5-5, and thus no rehearing was granted. Posner's opinion, which eviscerates every rationale promoted in support of these suppression laws, was relegated to a "dissent." ...
In short, if Posner were not Posner, his request for a rehearing would sink beneath the waves, and we would have draconian voter ID laws for as long as our nation lasts. But Posner is indeed Posner, and even conservatives listen to him. If we assume that we haven't heard the last in court of the GOP's skulduggery perpetrated by voter ID laws, it is reasonable also to assume that judges in further federal cases will pay heed to Posner, even all but the most extreme Supreme Court Justices.

One can hope. It's that, or cede our representative democracy to a band of thieves with an elephant as their emblem...

UPDATE: I am not the best at reading legal documents, but this one from the Supreme Court site appears to indicate that the Supremes (with Alito, Scalia and Thomas dissenting) have vacated the 7th Circuit's permanent injunction pending a timely petition for, and issuance of, a writ of certiorari by the Supreme Court. So there's more to come on this whole nightmare. I suppose we all know how Alito, Scalia and Thomas will vote, inveterate partisans that they are, but the rest of the Court may be more inclined to hear the appeal.

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